DACA Applications & DACA Renewals
Managing & Filing Deferred Actions for Childhood Arrivals in New Jersey
The Development, Relief, and Education Act for Alien Minors Act (The Dream Act) is an immigration bill that was originally introduced in both the Senate and the House on March 26, 2009. The legislation was intended to provide millions of immigrant children who graduated from U.S. high schools the opportunity to receive a Green Card.
The legislation was designed to provide immigration benefits to young immigrants who came to the United States as children, before the age of sixteen, and who had been living in the United States for five continuous years prior to the date of enactment of the Bill.
Although the Dream Act was proposed in 2009 and failed to pass in December of 2010, the Bill was re-introduced by Democrats in both the House and Senate, where it awaited Congressional action. On June 15th, 2012 President Obama announced that, through an Executive Order, certain undocumented persons who were brought to the United States as children would be protected from deportation. Additionally, persons who qualify for DACA could receive work permits (Employment Authorization Documents) and, in some cases, international travel permits (Advance Parole).
How Do I Qualify for DACA?
To qualify for DACA, an applicant must meet the following requirements:
- Be under 31 years of age on June 15, 2012
- Have first come to the US prior to their 16th birthdays
- Have lived in the US since June 15, 2007
- Be physically present in the US on June 15, 2012 and on the date of the application
- Not be in lawful immigration status on June 15, 2012
- Be currently studying or have graduated from high school, earned a GED or have an honorable discharge from the US Armed Forces or the Coast Guard
- Have not be convicted of a felony or DUI, or convicted of a “significant misdemeanor” or 3 or more misdemeanors of any kind
The deferred action grant is a discretionary grant from USCIS. It is valid for two (2) years. To qualify for deferred action, an individual must be able to verify that they meet the above criteria. Those who cannot prove that they have been in the United States for five (5) consecutive years starting on January 1st, 2010 will not be eligible for consideration.
What Are the DACA Educational Requirements?
The DACA program requires that an individual be currently studying or have graduated from high school or earned a GED. "Currently in school" means that one must be currently enrolled in a school that will grant a high school degree or a GED at the time a request for DACA is made. Schools include public or private elementary schools, junior high schools, middle schools, high schools or secondary schools.
To demonstrate that you have graduated from high school, you may present a high school diploma or GED certificate. You could also show a certificate of attendance or other forms of proof of current enrollment.
How Do I Renew my DACA Card?
USCIS recommends that an application to renew a DACA grant be filed at least 120 days before the expiration date on the card.
Individuals who wish to renew can do so subject to the following:
- You have not departed from the United States on or after August 15, 2012 without advance parole
- You continue to reside in the United States since submitting your most recent approved DACA request
- You have not been convicted of a significant crime, such as a felony or significant misdemeanor
- You do not pose any threat to public safety or national security
Can I File a New DACA application?
Individuals who have not requested DACA previously, but meet the criteria established as noted above, may currently request deferral for the first time.
DACA to Green Card
Most people who obtained a DACA card originally entered the US “without inspection." This makes it difficult but not impossible to become a lawful permanent resident of the U.S., even if the DACA holder is married to a U.S. citizen.
However, DACA card holders are eligible to apply to the USCIS for permission to travel outside the U.S. (advanced parole) under the following limited circumstances:
If a DACA holder obtains advance parole, travels and is admitted to the US that admission would be considered a lawful entry. Thereafter, if the DACA holder married a US Citizen or has a child over the age of 21 they can immediately apply for a green card from within the US. Every situation is different and should be carefully reviewed by a qualified immigration lawyer.
Should I Get a Lawyer for a DACA Application?
If you are unsure about whether you qualify for the program, you must speak to an immigration lawyer. A denied application for DACA will place your future in the US at risk. Only an immigration lawyer can give you legal advice.
If you want legal advice and assistance concerning your DACA application, call our immigration law office today and schedule an initial consultation. During this time, we will review your immigration history and decide whether you qualify. Additionally, we will look at your complete immigration history along with the immigration status of your family to determine if there is another path available.
Get Immigration Assistance from Our Team
Practicing since 1987, my firm has the resources, knowledge, and skills necessary to achieve your goals. We have helped over 10,000 immigrants with their immigration matters. We are committed to providing you with the highest quality legal services and we promise to immediately begin working on your case to achieve those goals. We will always respond to your questions or concerns. In addition, we will keep you informed and educated about the process every step of the way. Contact us today to discuss your case.
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